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Business

Gov't data: Greek unemployment dips as economy claws back growth

Government economic data from Greece suggest that the crisis-hit eurozone country might slowly creep out of depression. But the country's statistics agency still shows a contraction compared to last year.

Between April and June, quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) in Greece had expanded for the first time since the beginning of the country's economic crisis four years ago, Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras claimed on Thursday.

Citing a government estimate for second-quarter GDP, he said Greek economic output in the period was higher than in the first quarter of 2013.

"Economic indicators show that the recession is easing and that the economy is recovering," he added.

Stournaras referred to the government's seasonally adjusted GDP figure for the second quarter, which the country's statistics agency ELSTAT doesn't report.

Mixed signals

Official unadjusted data, released by ELSTAT earlier this month, show, however, that the economy contracted a further 3.8 percent when compared with the same quarter last year.

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Nevertheless, the Greek economy appears to be slowly improving. Latest unemployment figures, released by ELSTAT on Thursday, show a fractional decline from 27.4 percent in the first quarter to 27.1 percent in the quarter ending June.

Moreover, an economic indicator, gauging the sentiments of Greek purchasing managers, climbed to its highest level in three years. In addition, travel industry revenues rose on the back of higher tourist numbers recorded in Greece this summer.

The positive developments prompted Finance Minister Stournaras to revise his economic outlook for 2013. Instead of a projected contraction of 4.2 percent, the Greek economy would shrink by only 3.8 percent in 2013, he said.

uhe/slk (Reuters, dpa)

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